Royal Caribbean InternationalExplorer the Seas ReviewWestern Caribbeanblueboro
Number of Cruises: 11
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Explorer of the Seas
Sailing Date: May 7th, 2006
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
Royal Caribbean International
Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review
We were on the May 7th, 2006 5-day W. Caribbean
sailing of Explorer. This was the last Explorer cruise leaving from Miami for
some time and a “transition” cruise before repositioning to New Jersey.
Arrived at the port at 11:00AM and had checked in by 11:30. However, we did not get on board until 12:45 due to the fact that passengers from the prior cruise were still going through customs until 12:30. The problem with this was that since no one could board until 12:30, there was a mass assault on the Windjammer and was VERY crowded and tables were non-existent.
There were 4 in our party and we had forward Cabins 6218 (balcony) and 6217 (inside). Cabins were in good shape. The balcony on the early Voyager class ships are not as open as later versions and less glass but still better than nothing. While we were on the ship they were replacing couches and headboards with newly upholstered ones. The inside cabin was sufficient. The only complaint was that we were right above Maharaja’s Lounge and could hear the thumping bass on several evenings. One note. The showers are so small on this ship that if you drop the soap you have to open the door and practically stick your head in the sink to bend over far enough to pick it up.
This was our first cruise on the Voyager class and we were very impressed. While it did not have the abundance of glass and sea views as the Radiance class, it was beautiful and in great shape. It did not look like a 5-year old ship. You had to look hard to find things that were worn. In comparison, we were on HAL’s Zuiderdam in October 2005 and, even though it was 2-3 years newer than Explorer, it looked like it had been sailing for 10 years with no maintenance.
We loved the Promenade. We spent a lot of time just people watching and in the shops and café. This is a great feature on a cruise ship. The Palace Theatre was huge and had the best sightlines of any venue we have experienced. The 3-level dining room was beautiful. All public rooms on the ship are very classy and decorated in soft tones that are much more subdued than Carnival. RCCL does a great job in decorating their ships.
The Solarium was a very nice place to spend a sea day. They had 2 large hot tubs that rarely were crowded. The main pool usually had Vibes, the Caribbean band playing.
We ate each evening in the main dining room. All meals were good to very good. Nothing bad which is amazing considering the number of meals they prepare. It seemed the selection was less than normal but they did have alternatives such as steak and salmon you could select any evening. The Windjammer food was okay…nothing special but it is hard to make a buffet special in my opinion. They did not have a deli station like most of the ships we have been on recently. At times the Windjammer was very crowded and seems it may not be large enough to handle the number of passengers on this class of ship. It did not seem much larger than the Brilliance Windjammer.
They also have good small sandwiches in the Promenade Café along with desserts, fruit, pizza and cookies 24-hours a day. Everything is free in the Café except for the specialty coffees and soft drinks. We ate one day in Johnny Rockets using our Crown & Anchor coupon which meant we did not have to pay the $3.95 cover charge. Excellent fries and rings and burgers. If you want shakes and soft drinks, you pay extra for those.
Room service menu was fairly large but it took on average 45 -55 minutes late night after ordering to receive. We did not eat in Portofino’s.
Service was, as usual, excellent. Horace from Jamaica was our waiter and Antonio our assistant. They were always there to fill water, tea and soft drink glasses. On several evenings, I ordered an extra entrée to split with my son. Horace said his job was to make us happy and he did. Gerald was our headwaiter and very attentive. Shermin was our cabin steward and while efficient, she was not as visible as previous stewards. She did make towel animals on several evenings.
The RCCL Singers and Dancers show was one of the better ones we have seen. Most seem to be the same old stuff but they had a good selection of songs and sets. The Ice Show was very good and impressive on such a small surface. We had 3 comedians that were okay but nothing special and a couple called Majestic that did some amazing physical routines. I think the entertainment was not quite as good as other RCCL cruises but it could have been because it was a transitional cruise.
A good mix of ages. I heard there were only about 3,100 on board which is about 500 less than maximum capacity. Other than the Windjammer on embarkation day and a couple of other times, there were hardly any crowds since this ship has such a large space ratio per passenger. We were surprised at the dress of many passengers. Even on formal nights jeans and t-shirt were seen in the dining room. On casual nights shorts, flip flops and almost anything seemed fair game. I made the comment that some people just don’t seem to know the difference between casual and yard clothes.
Would definitely sail on the Voyager class again. We were unsure how we would react with such a large ship with so many people but RCCL has done an excellent job designing the ship to disburse the crowds. The ship is good for families since there is so much to do.